Curt Wechsler, The World Can't Wait: March 2013 Archives

Guantanamo forever?

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157771-v1.jpgThe New York Times reports:

The United States Southern Command has requested $49 million to build a new prison building at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for "special" detainees on top of other renovations it says are necessary since Congress has decided to keep it open indefinitely...

Camp Platinum is the most secure camp within the Guantanamo Bay detention camps. Its existence was kept secret for the first two years of its use. It was constructed to hold the fourteen "high-value detainees" who had been held by the CIA, and were transferred to military custody on September 6, 2006.
"How does the CIA's targeted killing program differ from the military's--and what are the implications of shifting one program into the other? Perhaps most important is that the CIA's program is 'covert'--which is to say it is not only highly classified, it's deniable under the law. That means the CIA, in theory, can lie about the existence of the program or about particular operations. The military's targeted killing program, however, is 'clandestine'--which means it is secret... 

There's nothing in the law that says the military has to brief congressional committees about its lethal activities. 

We cannot escape responsibility for the trauma our government inflicts on civilians across the globe, with increasing use of drone warfare and the continuing torture at Guantanamo, where prisoners have resorted to a collective hunger strike as a last resort of resistance to the brutalization of their bodies and the desecration of their religious beliefs.


The fact that Obama would let these men die speaks volumes to his inhumanity. Some of us voted in the last election, many others refused to buy into the "lesser of two evils" argument. But I doubt anybody is OK with the President's callous indifference to the physical consequences of his immoral and illegal indefinite detention policy. 

The desperate acts of these unfortunate victims force us to face the crimes of our government. Let us use this moment in time to renew our resolve to stop further death in our names.

"Some inmates are said to be so sick, they're coughing up blood. Others are being hospitalized and force-fed. How bad is this hunger strike getting do you think?

NEW: RT interview with Andy Worthington - Video here

ellison_rect-300x200.jpgDuring an appearance on MSNBC, Representative Keith Ellison highlighted the need for the President to fabricate explicit rules for the use of drones in his assassination program. 

Co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Ellison signed onto a letter from House Democrats (authored by Representative Barbara Lee) to President Obama calling for the release of Justice Department 'white paper' documents describing the administration's rationale for presumptive murder.

The current hullaballoo over transparency of executive drone policy conveniently avoids examination of the crime to focus on who gets to choose the victims. If Congress prevails in oversight of the President's 'kill list' selection, does that make murder OK? Would new rules provide legal shelter for those who go along with the practice? 

"I think when we frame things legalistically, we tend to think that resolving problems in the legal texts will resolve them in the real world, when we actually know that is not what happens. What we may end up doing, quite likely, is legalizing the war: then what?" -- journalist Madiha Tahir 

It would be hard to find a better illustration of how liberal support for criminal executive policy turns morality on its head:

c/o CNET News: 

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has customized its Predator drones, originally built for overseas military operations, to carry out at-home surveillance tasks that have civil libertarians worried: identifying civilians carrying guns and tracking their cell phones.

The Predator B drone can stay aloft conducting surveillance for 20 hours.  (Credit: U.S. Department of Homeland Security)

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